Drivers in San Francisco will soon have more options to pay the parking meter.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said Thursday that it has started replacing thousands of outdated parking meters with new smart meters that will allow drivers to pay by phone, credit or debit cards, SFMTA parking cards and coins.
The transit agency said it will take several months to replace the 24,897 existing single-space parking meters in the City. It also includes replacing 570 off-street meters.
Most of the multi-metered parking spaces where drivers pay at a station have already been upgraded with the new pay options.
Other benefits of the new parking meters include a larger display screen and flexible time limits allowing for multiple uses at the same meter. For example, a driver would be able to regularly park at a yellow zone parking meter outside of the loading zone hours.
The upgrade will not change current meter rates, time limits or hours of operation.
The transit agency said parking spaces will remain open while SFMTA staff replaces the meters, which includes replacing the dome and mechanism.
Drivers parked at a meter that it getting replaced will not have to worry. Staff will reload the time that was already on the meter, the transit agency said.
Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said in a statement that upgrading the parking meters will make it easier for drivers to pay:
“Upgrading our parking meters is one more step in making our parking system smarter and easier, while providing more convenient payment options for those who need to park in San Francisco.”
The transit agency also cited that parking citations are down by 12 percent citywide since installing some of the smart parking meters in parts of the City through its SFPark program.
IPS Group, Inc., a San Diego-based parking and telecommunications company, is providing the smart parking meters.
The $51.2 million contract with the SFMTA and IPS drew debate last year at a San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting last year.
A clause in the original contract that would allow the SFMTA to purchase an additional 10,000 parking meters had concerned supervisors.
City officials wanted to know if the additional parking meters would be installed to non-metered spaces in the City.
Reiskin said the new parking meters would only replace old meters throughout the City and also meters around the Port of San Francisco.
The contract was modified to just allow the transit agency to purchase an additional 5,000 new parking meters along with the original 25,000 before supervisors approved the contract last year.
The transit agency reiterated Thursday that it will be replacing parking meters and not adding parking meters to the parking supply.